Creek, Melbourne Florida
Crane Creek is freshwater,
but saltwater runs into it from the Indian River (which
is really not a river at all, but a saltwater inlet), making
the water brackish. That just means it's a mix of saltwater
and fresh water, making it home to a mix of saltwater and
fresh water birds, fish and other wildlife.
The first creek I every
kayaked in my boat, Crane Creek is
still my favorite. There are different parts to the ride
that make it interesting and beautiful, and my very best
manatee encounters have been there.
a couple of options where to launch to paddle Crane Creek. First,
you can put in at the Front Street Park where there is
lots of parking, three docks, and plenty of room to back
your car up and launch your boat into the Indian River.
Front Street Boat Launching
When you launch here, the Melbourne Causeway
will be immediately to your left. Go right, around the building
you see in the above photo, and keep going to the right through
the small marina.
There is a bird nesting island next to the
building, and at the right time of the year it is a noisy,
busy spot with a huge variety of birds sharing a small space
to build their nests and raise their young. By September all
but the latest birds have left home and moved elsewhere.
Once you pass under the US-1 bridge, you
will be at the Manatee Boardwalk. Go under the railroad tracks
and just keep heading west.....
You can also launch
from the Manatee Boardwalk,
if you prefer to bypass the Indian River/marina part of the
ride. Some days the Indian River can be a bit rough,
but Crane Creek is more protected from the wind,
and is an easier paddle. There is a small grassy area at
the far east end of the boardwalk, right before the US-1
bridge, that is quite sufficient for launching a kayak.
seen dolphin and manatee and the bird island up to this
point in the ride, but the best is yet to come!
The creek leads through a large open area with
houses on the edge, then some beautiful, secluded coves that
are great for watching manatee, then a narrow, twisty stream
that winds through a quiet residential area. For many months
I went only this far, turning back when the trail became wild
Finally one day Judy and
I took a pair of loppers and opened up the wild trail a little. We found
a whole new adventure in front of us! There is a part of the
path that is completely enclosed with trees, and you paddle
in a dim, cool, green world. Then you squeeze under the pipes
at the Babcock Street bridge and find yourself on the edge
of the FIT Botanical Gardens. Beautiful!
We have heard that when the water is high enough
you can get all the way to the golf course, but we haven't
made it that far yet.